The South Bend metro area was battered Monday night during two rounds of storms that packed winds in excess of 80 MPH. Two people were unfortunately lost during the storm. A 14 year-old boy from Winona Lake and a 64 year-old man from La Grange were killed when trees fell on their houses in separate incidents. Another tree fell on a South Bend house but no one was home.
The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF1 tornado with winds estimated at 95MPH touched down near the town of La Grange, approximately 45 miles east of South Bend. The tornado was roughly 250 yards wide and followed a path of roughly a mile before dissipating, uprooting trees along the way.
A number of trees were down throughout South Bend and much of the greater Michiana region. South Bend Voice witnessed two trees that had crushed sedans in the River Park neighborhood near IUSB. One of the trees, near 21st and Vine, blocked the entire road along 21st Street. It remains closed to traffic as of 5 pm Tuesday.
Power outages were extensive throughout most of Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The latest figures from Indiana & Michigan Power put the number of power outages at nearly 18,000 in St. Joseph County, Indiana alone. Another 18,000 were reported in Berrien County, Michigan; 3,000 in Allen County (Fort Wayne); and 1,000 in Elkhart County.
“Crews are currently working to finalize assessing the extent of damage this storm has had on our equipment and tree crews are working to remove debris so that restoration work can move into full swing,” I&M said in a statement. “Thus far, crews have found 64 poles, 27 crossarms and several transformers that will need replaced and it is likely that the number will continue to grow. Outside help from other utilities will begin to arrive this evening to assist in restoration efforts.”
Power is also out at major South Bend intersections including Lincolnway and Miami, Lincolnway and Twyckenham, and Twyckenham and Ewing. Drivers are advised to avoid these areas during peak hours if at all possible.